31 August 2018Trademarks

Ozzy Osbourne merchandiser files pre-emptive TM suit

Ozzy Osbourne’s merchandiser has filed a pre-emptive trademark lawsuit against “peddlers” of fake merchandise ahead of his upcoming concert in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Global Merchandising Services (GMS) filed the complaint at the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Wednesday, August 29.

Based in London and Los Angeles, GMS designs and sells merchandise for a diverse range of famous acts including Osbourne, who rose to fame as the lead vocalist of British heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

The suit said that Osbourne started using the ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ trademark in 1970 to identify and distinguish himself in the entertainment industry.

GMS has the exclusive right to market merchandise bearing this trademark, which was registered in the US in 2003 (number 2,690,340) for a number of classes covering clothing, key chains, and music recordings.

More than $5 million worth of licensed merchandise bearing the ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ mark, name, logo, or likeness has been sold to date, GMS said.

Although the identities of the defendants are not yet known, the merchandising company believes them to be “numerous unlicensed peddlers and manufacturing and distributing companies”.

They will allegedly attempt to sell “unauthorised and inferior merchandise embodying the ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ IP at Osbourne’s upcoming concert in the Xfinity Center, Mansfield on September 6.

GMS said that, based on experience, “imitation and bootleg merchandise” including t-shirts will be sold outside the concert venue.

Osbourne is currently on a US tour and nearly all of his concerts are or will be sold out, according to GMS.

GMS claimed that the defendants intend to cause consumer confusion and deny GMS and Osbourne the “absolute right” to determine the way the artist’s image is presented to the public. Such conduct allegedly injures and “cashes in on the reputation” of GMS and Osbourne.

GMS asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent the sale of the fake merchandise. After a hearing, GMS would like the court to issue a permanent injunction.

The merchandising company also wants law enforcement to seize any fake merchandise being sold around the venue.

Earlier this year, GMS accused custom t-shirt designer SunFrog of producing and distributing merchandise which infringed the trademarks of artists represented by GMS.

Other famous artists or bands who have recently cracked down on fake merchandise include Beyoncé and Iron Maiden.

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More on this story

3 January 2018   British brand merchandiser Global Merchandising Services has accused custom T-shirt designer SunFrog of trademark infringement, in violation of the Lanham Act.
2 August 2018   Singer Beyoncé has waged war on sellers of fake merchandise amid her global “On the Run II” tour with husband Jay-Z.